The Political Debate Over Direct Talks with Iran
Ana Navarro, Legislative Assistant to Republican Senator Norm Coleman, says that the military option is the last resort, but that this option should always be on the table because the international community needs leverage over Iran. According to Navarro, Coleman supports pre-conditions and certain parameters before direct negotiations with Iran would begin, and it would be better if the talks involved back-channel conversations.
"Clearly, Ahmadinejad, who I consider a nit wit, has been making these pronouncements for a long time, including the denial of the Holocaust. So, you put him into a category, maybe all by himself, which is why I think we need to have a discussion with Iran, because while he may be speaking for them, he may not be the only person speaking for them. We need to know how much he does speak for them, and the publicity he gets, as opposed to others, in terms of differing views."
Understanding that it is the Iranian mullah's that often make government decisions, including Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Senator Nelson added, "You don't have to capitulate; you don't have to agree; but, I think it would be beneficial for us to have a conversation, and this conversation with more than Ahmadinejad." In Nelson's opinion, to avoid the military option, the U.S. must talk with its adversaries.
But, while U.S. congressional leaders debate the pros and cons of direct talks with Iran, Israelis continue to be skeptical that such discussions will stop Iran from "going nuclear." Many Israelis see face-to-face talks with Iran as an appeasement policy set in place by international leaders who fear implementing tougher sanctions and preparing for a military option.
American leaders like Senator Nelson think that it's important to meet with other representatives of Iran who may be more moderate than Ahmadinejad. Yet, Israeli analysts claim that Iran's mullah's like Khamenei are not more moderate than Ahmadinejad. Reportedly it is Khamenei that calls the shots when it comes to Iran's nuclear program. Furthermore, it was Khamenei's decision to elect Ahmadinejad as president, and he now wants the Iranian president to serve another term in office. Khamenei's statements, like Ahmadinejad's reflect Iran's determination to isolate and dominate Western interests, worldwide.
Ana Navarro in Coleman's office believes it's important not to waste time talking to a regime that continues to represent an existential threat to Israel. Senator Nelson supports Israel's right to a military option, but he still hopes it will not get to that point. "And, one of the best ways not to get to that point is to have talks with Iran."
While some American politicians continue to insist that direct talks are necessary, others are voicing their concern that something must be done soon about Iran's nuclear ambitions before time runs out. In a speech before a European conference on security policy in Munich earlier this year, Senator Lieberman said, "If we do not work together to get Iran right, a great deal else in the world is likely to go very wrong." He added, "The dangers of a nuclear Iran cannot be denied, diminished, or dismissed. There is no room for complacency, and no excuse for inaction, about this threat."
Currently, American politicians seem to be setting a new course, determined to find out who in Iran is actually responsible for its nuclear development. But those, like Lieberman, are focusing on the danger, itself, seeing the necessity of dealing with that danger before it is too late.
Looking towards the future, if direct talks fail, or further UN sanctions are unable to stop Iran, the Israeli government is preparing a military option, even if it means acting alone against Iran's nuclear threat. If time runs out for any other available option to be considered, the Jewish state will be ready to defend its sovereignty, doing all it can to responsibly provide safety and security for millions of its citizens.
"The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge." Psalm 46:7
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